Shoot on cloudy days.
Credit: Photograph by Ant Green

One of the biggest mistakes a beginning photographer will make is to assume the best photos are captured when the sun is blazing. In fact, that can be the worst time to shoot, because the bright, harsh light blows out detail or creates unwanted shadows on your subject, for instance, across a person's face. Instead, Steinmetz recommends shooting either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the light is the softest. You'll get even better results, he says, when the sky is overcast. "Bad weather is really a photographer's best friend," Steinmetz says. Clouds across the sun are like putting a giant soft box on a studio light to produce soft and pleasing results for portraits.